Mother Nature is Mad

Weather has dominated the news for the last month or so. Four major hurricanes, many fires and two big earth quakes just in our part of the world and we are not the only place where the weather is wild. Tonight’s news led off with the devastation in Mexico City, followed by hurricane Maria taking aim at Puerto Rico. The third item in the line up was Trump’s speech at the UN general Assembly.
I was cooking today, so I watched that speech. Given any other day it should have led the news due to its unusual tone for a regular American President, but we all know this is not a regular Pres. 
I somehow have an eerie feeling that Mother nature is trying to tell us, we are mere specs, including the POTUS and that she is the one in charge. No matter how outrageous 45 talks Mother Nature appears to be saying, let’s take the spot light off you and I know just how to do it.
In the 70’s there used to be a margarine commercial that said, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” You can’t fool Nature long. Eventually it will win. Well, now Mother Nature is saying, “It’s not nice to hurt my planet.” I am wondering when we will listen to the scientist who study weather and do what we can to be nice to Mother Nature. We can hardly afford to continue at the pace of weather disasters that we are in now.


Fixing It Myself

Russ went to undergraduate engineering school as well as Masters in Electrical Engineering. He always talked about how few women were in his class and that his short-sighted professors went out of their way to make women feel out of place. It was such a sad bunch of chauvinism.  
Since I have started quilting in earnest I have been teaching myself how to do it. Quilting is a precision activity I have discovered. I have become more adept at making the quilt tops, but I wanted to try my hand at the actual quilting, that is making the sandwich of pieced top, batting and backing. Since I don’t own a sewing machine that is made to do that kind of quilting I needed to make something small. I decided that Christmas placemat might be a good way to experiment.  
I pieced this simple top and then realized that I did not have the necessary walking foot to quilt with my sewing machine. I went to look at Carter’s machine and lo and behold, her inexpensive machine from Costco had the fancy walking foot. I carried it down to my sweat shop and went to set it up. As I placed the foot down and tied to sew it would not work and I got an error code.  
Carefully I took the machine apart, cleaning out the gathered lint with a small brush. I put the machine back together and it worked perfectly. I thought about how many women are able to care for our household machines with little or no engineering training, yet how looked down upon those few women were in Russ’ class. It is such a shame that talent is over looked.


With my newly repaired second sewing machine I practiced doing the actual quilting and completed the first, be it very simple, place mat for my Christmas table. I look forward to creating a dozen different yet coordinating mats, all with more and more complicated quilting patterns, but first I have to engineer what they are going to look like.


What to Get A Husband for His Birthday

Today I got my annual message from Russ’ father asking me what Russ wanted for his birthday. I get these messages, three times a year, with Christmas quickly following the birthday and then again at father’s day. It is always the same dilemma, what to give Russ? The message is also my alert notice for me to start pricing that I don’t have a gift yet either.
Russ is a very simple guy. He has no real hobbies, since working is not a hobby, he doesn’t care much about clothes and he has everything he thinks he needs. Top it off that we are in the cleaning out stage of life, rather than the accumulation and that leaves very few ideas for birthday presents, let alone Christmas.
So I turn to you brilliant readers, what do you give your husbands, fathers, brothers and other grown males in your life for gifts? Have you ever given something that so delighted the receiver that surprised you?
One issue I have is that Russ is my IT department. If it is tech, he already knows that it exists and has made the decision whether he needs it or not. I am not a good judge about tech gifts. We am still in the dog house with Russ for laughing about a product called Lantastic.
If only we didn’t already have the worlds best dog who loves Russ more than anything, I would get him a dog. A second dog would be out of the question because that would put Shay’s nose way out of joint.
Books are no good because Russ is an audibleaphile, having quickly made the move to listening to books from reading them on Kindle. Music is gone, now that everything is streamed. No ties, they are hardly worn anymore and Carter has hogged the sock category by always giving him sock of the month club. What’s left? Help.


Whining

 
Watching the devastation in the Keys where people lost everything, and places in Florida where they have not had electricity for almost a week, I feel guilty complaining, but I am going to anyway. Our internet has been out since 1:30 last night. Sounds like a first world problem to me and of course it is. Nevertheless, I am slightly crippled without it. The cell service at our house is horrible so even my cell phone is not useful for looking at a web page.
I got up early this morning to go work at the church yard sale. No internet needed to do that, except I was unable to turn the lights on in my bedroom because they are all connected to Alexa. I could have crawled under the bed and unplugged everything from the internet controlled plugs, but there was hardly time for that.
While working the yard sale, I did get my email because my cell phone works better at church, not good for listening to the sermon, but for selling clothes it was fine.  
Back at home my TV in my sewing room was rendered useless since it uses wifi to get any signal. I was sewing my latest quilt the old fashioned way, without any YouTube instructions and no entertainment.  
All those problems were mere annoyances, but then a real issue came up. I am out of the 240 quart sized plastic containers that I use to put food in for my friends. I was thinking of making Tuscan Ribolita this week, but I needed to order another case of containers. I had to go find wifi signal to hook up to my supplier. If you are someone who has gotten food from me, please bring containers back to me. I have gone through three cases since last October and that is with many containers being recycled to me. The loss of the internet has made the need for recycling more urgent than ever.
The worst thing is that I have been binge watching a TV show on Amazon Prime and I can’t continue without the internet. Oh yes, I am addicted. But my internet addiction is not fattening so I am going to continue to love it and cry when it is down.


Time is Short

A few days ago my dear friend Jeanne, who moved to Alexandria three years ago, texted me that she was going to be in North Carolina and did I have time to meet her at needlepoint and have lunch. When a friend shows up you must do everything possible to see them, so I moved my day around so I could spend as much time with her as she had. Our visit did not disappoint me and we had a wonderful time catching up, even if all the news was not good.
Yesterday I got a call from my friend Lee telling me that a good friend of her and her husband Tom had passed away. Tom and I were classmates in college and the friend who passed was his fraternity brother who I knew, John McClatchy. At fifty-six we are just too young to be loosing our contemporaries.  
I sent an email to five very close college friends telling them of the sad news. We don’t all see each other as often as we used to since life, children and work keep us far apart. But this news caused us all to respond quickly to each other. My friend Hugh, said it felt like the Big Chill, and he was claiming the role of John Hurt. Funny since he is the least likely drug dealer I know.  
The chances to spend time with friends has to seized upon because we do not know how often those encounters will come along. I implore you dear readers to reach out to a few old friends who you have not seen in a while and tell them what they mean to you. I promise they have not forgotten you and probably think of you often. Time is short.

  


Today is Hunger Action Day

Hunger Action Day is not a day you are supposed to go hungry. Instead it is a day to remind you that thee are 48 million Americans who don’t always know if they are going to eat today. As someone who has rarely missed a meal the idea that, even if I worked, I might not have enough money to buy food is horrible.
It just so happened that I was at the headquarters of the Food Bank of CENC today to chair a meeting of the Roundtable. It is a group of good friends of the Food Bank who gather to help with big picture/big idea issues. We had a nice turn out of people who are very busy with important other work, but were willing to take time to talk about food insecurity and how we can be part of the solution. I was very pleased with the engagement of new friends of the Food Bank as well as the support of many past board members who are true experts on the issue.
One of the highlights of getting to go back to the Food Bank is getting to see the dear Billie Churchwell, who has been the receptionist for 18 years, just a bit longer than my involvement with the organization. Billie is a smiling face who greets everyone with the same gusto, no matter who they are.  
In our old headquarters everyone coming to the building, be it partner agency representative, corporate volunteer or special needs volunteers, they all had to come past Billie. Now in the new giant building, volunteers have their own designated entrance a good five minute walk from Billie’s desk. It has been quite an adjustment for the volunteers who all know Billie not to see her when they come in. I am glad that I still have Billie as my greeter, but I do feel sorry for all the friends who are missing her.  
Orange is the color of Hunger Action and since this is the big day of course Billie was wearing orange. When you see orange this month let it remind you that there are hungry people right in our own community. Consider helping a feeding organization. They do so much for so many. And if you ever are so lucky as to visit the Raleigh Branch of the Food Bank, meet Billie and tell her you are a friend of mine. You will immediately be a friend of hers.


Do I Need a New Microwave?


With Russ away so much during the weekdays I usually just microwave some leftovers for dinner. I am trying to eat smaller portions to counteract my DJT weight gain. To ensure this happens I use a small salad plate as my dinner plate.
I have noticed that even though I have less food on a smaller plate my microwave takes forever to heat up my dinner. I am not sure if it is actually takes longer and I don’t remember how long a microwave really takes or if my microwave is getting less wavy.
I know nothing about the science of how a microwave actually works. I am sure I could Google it, or search on YouTube for a tutorial on microwaves. I’m just going on my gut that two and a half minutes for a small plate to get lukewarm is just a whole lot longer than it used to be.
What I am wondering is am I doing myself any harm using a slow microwave? Could the radioactivity, if that is really in there, leaking out all over my kitchen?
I don’t have that much to do these days so having my dinner take three minutes rather than one is no big deal, unless I am killing myself. Now comes the big question, what kind of microwave do you have and do you recommend it? I don’t need a fancy one or a built in one, just a simple machine to sit on the counter and heat my small dinner.